When the Cavs released Larry Sanders on April 11, the transaction plainly appeared to be a basketball decision. In his return to the league, Sanders had been unable to crack Tyronn Lue‘s rotation; instead receiving minutes with the Canton Charge. Additionally, Sanders’ replacement- Edy Tavares– had an excellent year in the D-League, averaging 10.6 points with 7.7 rebounds over 48 games with Raptors 905.
An article by Jason Lloyd of The Athletic shed further light on the move, however; implying Sanders’ lack of punctuality may have played a role in his release.
“Sanders is gone again after he struggled keeping up with responsibilities on and off the court,” Lloyd writes. “He missed the team bus from the hotel to the airport Tuesday in Miami, multiple sources with knowledge of the situation told The Athletic, the final blow to his time here after Sanders had previously struggled with punctuality.”
While he didn’t miss out on playing time due to lateness, Sanders’ demeanor appeared to indicate he was “far from being NBA ready.”
Dave McMenamin of ESPN spoke with GM David Griffin about the decision to cut Sanders. Griffin denied any incident being the culprit behind Sanders’ release, instead citing his lack of on-court progress.
“He [Sanders] didn’t have any kind of a setback relative to any of the demons he had or any of those things. He’s an NBA player. He’s kind of flaky. So sometimes you’re late. You’re this. You’re that. None of those things were incidents,” Griffin said.
“I have to take you in totality as a player, and if I know you’re not going to play, then what I’m going to get is everything else. And if I didn’t even feel confident that he’d be a benefit to the group in practice, then it was hard to me to tell coaches, like, ‘This is a guy you got to keep.’ So they had the conversation on the plane [back from Miami]; what else can we do? And we talked about it and we landed, and we talked to all the rest of our staff and made a decision.”